Stromanthe Plant

About a Stromanthe Plant

A Stromanthe sanguinea “Tricolor” (sometimes referred to a Stromanthe “Triostar”) is native to the rain forests of Brazil where the plant grows as tall as 5ft (1.5m) and as wide as 3′ (.9m) and has leaves 20” (50cm) long and 6” (15.2 cm) wide. The Stromanthe is a close relative of the Prayer plant and the Ctenanthe and is a member of the Marantaceae family. Although a Stromanthe plant can be grown indoors or outdoors, it won’t survive a freeze and prefers temperatures above 60°F (15.6°C). Like a Prayer plant, the leaves of a Stromanthe fold up at night as though praying. and open the next morning.

Stromanthe Plant Description

As a houseplant, the upright Stromanthe is usually about 2′-3′ (.6m -.9m) tall and produces long, elliptical-shaped, multi-colored, glossy leaves about 6″-12″ (15.2cm -30.5cm) long. The topside of the leaves are a combination of green, cream, white, and pink. No matter what the variety, the underside of the leaves is always a vibrant pinkish-red- color. The leaves of a Stromanthe lean in the direction of the light source as it moves across a room throughout the day. Once night arrives and it’s dark, the leaves fold up and open again as the light returns the next morning. When grown indoors, a Stromanthe may produce tiny white flowers surrounded by bright red bracts during late winter or early spring. The flowers are only about ½” (1.2cm) but the bracts surrounding them can be  2”-3” (5cm-7.5cm) wide. The flowers can’t compete with the plants’ beautiful leaves.

Stromanthe Varieties

Tricolor Stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea) is the most popular variety sold. The top side of the oval – shaped leaf is a mixture of patches of dark and light green, cream, white, and pink. The underside of the leaf is a vibrant shade of pinkish  burgundy.

Stromanthe Magic Star has leaves that are narrower and less colorful that the Tricolor Stromanthe. The topside of the leaf is bright green with streaks and dots of white and cream. The underside of the leaf is a deep red.

Stromanthe amabilis has greenish-grey leaves with dark green streaks

Stromanthe “Charlie” has medium green leaves with wide and narrow streaks of dark green and white.

Green Stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea “Green”) is just green, the leaves have no other colors. The leaves do have a nice shine to them and a large light green middle rib.

Quick Care Tips

Bright, indirect light

Keep soil barely moist but never allow the plant to sit in water

Feed every two weeks from May to September

Grows best in high humidity and warm temoeratures

Propagate by plant division


A Stromanthe plant is a spectacular looking plant, but challenging to grow, definitely not for beginners. It is a non-poisonous plant and safe to have around dogs, cats, and small children.

Plant Care


Place a Stromanthe plant in bright indirect light but no direct sun; a north or east facing window is best.


A Stromanthe likes to be kept barely moist at all times. Be careful not to over-water or the roots rot and the plant dies. In winter, allow the soil of a Stromanthe to dry out a little more, but never completely.


Feed every two weeks when the plant is actively growing, this is usually from early spring to the end of fall. Use a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.


Stromanthe plants prefer warm temperatures between 65°F and 80°F (18.3°C-26.7°C) during the day and 5° cooler at night. Avoid cold or hot drafts.


A Stromanthe needs high humidity to keep its beautiful leaves looking good. If your house is dry, place a Stromanthe on a wet pebble tray. Be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water. Stromanthe plant leaves turn brown and become crisp when the air is too dry.


A Stromanthe “sanquinea” produces reddish-orange flowers in the spring.


Aphids and spider mites can be a pest problem. (read more about these pests in the Glossary of the website)


The high humidity a Stromanthe plant requires encourages fungal plant diseases.


Use a light, quick-draining soil that retains moisture but still drains quickly. A peat-based potting soil is a good choice for a Stromanthe.

Pot Size

Repot in late spring or summer. Be sure a Stromanthe has outgrown its existing pot before moving it to a larger one. When changing pots, use the next size container and nothing larger and be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot.


Remove damaged or unattractive leaves where they are attached to the main stem.


Stromanthe plants are propagated by plant division. Carefully separate a Stromanthe rhizome, with 2 or 3 leaves attached, from the main root ball and plant it in a small pot of moist potting soil. Propagate in the spring before the plant starts its growth spurt.

Poisonous Plant Info

A Stromanthe is considered to be a non-toxic plant and safe to have around pets and small children.


Can I Put My Stromanthe Outside for the Summer?

A Stromanthe would love to spend the summer on your porch, but be sure it’s in the shade and not getting any direct sun. Bring it back inside before there is a chance of a hard frost.

Is a Stromanthe a Good Plant for a Terrarium?

The humidity loving Stromanthe will thrive in a terrarium. The only problem may be that is will get too large. These plants can get to be 2-3 feet in the right conditions.

When I Bought My Stromanthe, It Was Gorgeous! The Colors in the Leaves Were So Bright and Vibrant. I Put in a Sunny Spot on the Window Sill and Now the Leaves Are All Faded and Ratty Looking.

I think you have a couple of things going on. First of all, a Stromanthe should never get direct sun, it causes the color in the leaves to fade. bright indirect light from a north or east facing window is best. Another think Stromanthes don’t like is being in a draft. I’d move it off the window sill incase there is some cold air coming in at night.